It’s that time of year, when people start making resolutions to eat healthier. And hopefully what that means is they’re selecting foods that best support their health goals and aren’t doing some crazy deprivation diet. Because eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to go to extreme lengths – it just means being intentional about the food you’re eating and paying a little more attention to what you put in your body. The biggest thing to remember is that it’s still okay treat yourself and have a little fun! And these Healthy Cacao Nib Brownies are the perfect example of that. They’re gluten-free/dairy-free/refined sugar free and still taste like the perfect cakey brownie!
About three years ago on Christmas Eve, when Lou was just a little pup and refused to sleep in…..I was up crazy early watching The Great British Baking Show Christmas Masterclass (as one does at 4:00 AM). On the episode, Mary Berry made the most gorgeous pavlova wreath and, for some reason, I decided I had to make one myself. Right then. So I busted out a pavlova at 5:00 AM for our Christmas Eve dinner that night. And the funny thing is that the husband loved it so much that it’s now become a tradition for us to make pavlovas for the holidays. I typically make one for our big Christmas dinner and then another one for New Year’s Eve. Usually, it’s a pretty standard pavlova topped with either passion fruit or mango curd, lots of freshly whipped cream, and an assortment of berries. But this year I decided it was time to change things up a bit and came up this Chocolate Swirled Raspberry Hazelnut Pavlova for our New Year’s one.
Christmas is only four days away, which means it’s time to cram in all the cookie baking you can! I don’t know about you guys, but I plan on spending the next few days in the kitchen baking up a storm. Cookies are always at the top of my list and this weekend I’m making my Oma’s Lebkuchen, Chai Spiced Mexican Wedding Cookies, Smoked Sea Salt and Bourbon Cowboy Cookies, and one of my all-time favorites….gluten-free Cake Batter Cookies.
Now that December is here, it’s all cookies all the time in my kitchen! This month I plan on sharing a few new cookie recipes with you guys and first up are these Chocolate Chip Date Cookies. These bad boys are one of my favorite healthier cookies and are full of wholesome ingredients. They’re gluten-free, vegan, and naturally sweetened with both maple syrup and date syrup. They even have a secret ingredient to give them a bit of a nutritional boost. And if I’m being honest, these cookies are so good that sometimes I forgo the chocolate chunks in them…..crazy, I know.
It’s hard to believe that fall is upon us and that next week will be October already. I don’t know about you guys, but I feel like we barely had a summer this year! The last few weeks of summer in particular felt like a blur to me, especially with all the studying for my nutrition courses. And while I always have a tough time letting go of summer, there are a few things I absolutely love about the fall. The first is that it’s the start of football season! Which means I get to geek out and obsess waaaaay too much over my fantasy football teams and get to watch my beloved Broncos play on a weekly basis (which might not necessarily be a good thing based on the past couple seasons). The second thing I love most about fall is that it’s a season filled with warm, cozy desserts. Think cinnamon spiked coffee cakes, hot apple fritters, and, if you’re like me, basically anything with Italian plums like these gluten-free/vegan Italian Plum Streusel Bars.
I’ve always said that one of my favorite parts about making cookies is getting to eat the cookie dough. I don’t know why, but sometimes cookie dough seems more alluring than the actual cookies. Maybe it’s because I know I’m not supposed to eat a lot of it or that it’s slightly controversial……or could it be that cookie dough is the bad boy of cookies and that just makes it sexier and more appealing?? Like we know we shouldn’t love it and there’s a slight danger in it, but no matter how hard we try – we just can’t seem to stay away.
Is it just me or has summer flown by this year?? I feel like it just started and now it’s already mid-August! Which means there’s a lot of hiking, camping, and hanging outside that I need to cram into the next month or so. It also means there’s only so much more time to take advantage of all the summer berries and fruit! I’ve found the best way to do this is to put berries on everrrryyyything……oatmeal, toast, ice cream, cookies and especially this Pistachio Cake that just also happens to be naturally sweetened and gluten-free.
Whenever people ask me how I come up with recipe ideas, I always tell them “Oh, I get inspired by a lot things like vintage cookbooks or what’s in season or a new dessert trend I’ve seen.” But if I’m being honest…..most of my ideas come to me because it’s something I really, really, really want to eat. Like something I’m seriously craving and need to develop a recipe for ASAP so I can eat as much of it as I want. And that’s exactly how the idea for these Healthier Peanut Butter Buckeyes came about.
Well, I wasn’t kidding when I said I’ve been getting lots of requests for gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan recipes. This is another one that came at the request of a friend. She asked if I could make something for her son’s birthday……the only kicker was that it had to be both gluten-free and vegan. And since I believe every kid (and really every adult) should have an awesome dessert on their birthday – I immediately accepted the challenge.
For the past couple months, I’ve been playing around with making healthier treats. This came about for a lot of reasons. One is that I’ve been getting a lot of requests from friends to develop gluten-free and vegan recipes. And since I consider myself an equal opportunity baker – I’m happy to oblige. But, if I’m being honest, the biggest reason I’ve been doing this is because this style of baking is new to me and I’ve never been one to turn down a challenge. At first, I thought it might be a pain developing recipes without dairy and gluten…….and don’t get me wrong – it’s definitely not the easiest thing in the world. But what I didn’t expect was how much fun it would be.